An article today in the New York Times said, referring to the Yankees, “The team that the Red Sox outclassed in recent years is now surging. The Red Sox are not.”
I would agree with this statement about a week ago. But now, as the Red Sox are fresh off a sweep over the Toronto Blue Jays, I have to say that I beg to differ. If anything at all, the Red Sox are surging. And what better time to be surging than heading into a series with the Yankees.
Let’s review the Toronto series. We came into it with the mindset that taking 2/3 games in this series would be a success. While our current Wild-Card rivals, the Rangers, were over in Minnesota fighting in a slightly more difficult series, we could expect to take at least one game against Toronto, a pretty weak team at this stage in the season. However, while we could have played this series with the mindset that we are pretty much ensured at least one game and that we didn’t need to play hard, our boys still played like they meant it.
Our offense was on fire, outscoring the Jays 24-11 in the series, and our pitching was very good as well, holding the Jays to 1 run in each of the last 2 games.
As well as our excellent play, we even saw a little bit of fun in the dugout. Forget the depressed faces of the past few series, we were happy to be winning again. Even some of our more quiet stars shone, and everyone was happy to see this.
I have to say that I am very happy and very proud with the way we played this past series, it seems that we have regained our offensive prowess and are ready to beat our rivals.
In other baseball news, a dead body was found yesterday on the Texas ranch owned by Chipper Jones’ family. Jones’ father says that “the man had entered the country from Mexico illegally and that the extreme heat and drought would have made it difficult for him to survive without food or water.” I found this a kind of wierd story and thought I should mention it…
We enjoyed the luxury of bringing out our own brooms against Toronto, but we have the most crucial series of the year thus far coming up. Let’s get out there and win!!
When all hope seemed lost for Red Sox fans, a little bit of light has begun to shine in the past 2 days. As we entered a series against our Wild-Card rivals, the Texas Rangers, our whole team was flushed with confidence and we felt that we could take these guys by storm and regain our position as the top Wild-Card team. Three days later, that has not happened. In fact, we are a game behind the Rangers in this race, after barely winning 1 game in the series on a remarkable 9th inning comeback.
However, in these last 2 days, while we have not shown strength in any way, the Yankees have shown weakness. They have lost two games straight, and have left us a half game closer to first place then we were after the Rangers series. I think that while it is hardly a solution to rely on an other team’s failures, we will take what we can get for now.
The Yankees have been terrifying teams all over the AL for the past few weeks, with a dynamite offense and some timely pitching. It’s good to see that this team, is in fact, human. Even this guy was held to one hit in the 2nd loss.
How much more reassurance do we need?
Even more exciting is the fact that the Yankees lost those two games against teams that are even less of a threat than us. The Mariners, who beat the Yanks 10-3, are 5.5 games behind us in the Wild Card race, and the A’s who beat them 3-0, are 13.5 games behind us.
This certainly gives Red Sox fans hope, but we will have to start winning before I am totally convinced that we can wreak havoc at Fenway in our upcoming series with the Bronx Bombers.
In other baseball news, top pick of the MLB draft, Stephen Strasburg, has finally signed with the Nationals, and it certainly came down to the wire. Less than 2 minutes before the deadline last night, Strasburg finally came to terms for a 4 year, $15 million dollar contract. It was a record-breaking contract, surpassing the $10.5 million Mark Prior signed for in 2001. Why did the deal take so long to come to, and why did the Nationals finally agree to offer so much? Two words: Scott Boras. ‘Nuff said.
Now that we know the Yankees can be beat, and by teams that are less of a threat than us (sorry A’s and Mariners fans!), we have hope. Time to crank out a few wins of our own to compliment a few Yankee losses. Let’s get ‘er done!
Thanks for reading.
As some of you know, I am currently in Maine with limited internet access, so this had to be a quick entry, Hopefully I can write a few more this week. I’ll respond to any comments as soon as I can. Thanks!
Maybe the boys did some recommended reading…
…because the comeback was alive and well in Arlington, Texas last night. It is something us Red Sox fans haven’t seen for a while. The last few weeks for us have been depressing, as our guys have struggled to hit when we needed it and we just haven’t been able to come through on several wins we really needed.
Heading into what everyone knew would be an exciting and decisive series with the Rangers, our hopes were high. We knew that beating Texas would be tough, but we were confident we had what it took.
Jon Lester took the mound for us in the first game of the series yesterday. He was facing Kevin Millwood, who has been decent this year. Lester has been our #2 pitcher for most of the season, so we expected him to bring it to set the tone for the rest of the series. One of our problems has been good starting pitching in the last few weeks. Aside from bright points whenever Beckett pitches, we have been unable to really decide things with the quality of our starters.
Texas got on the scoreboard very quickly, scoring on a 2-run homer by Michael Young as only the 2nd batter. We struggled to even it up until the 6th, making legitimate threats in the 2nd and 4th innings. Finally, Ortiz homered and drove in 2 runs, and just like that, we were back in the game.
A few innings later, going into the 9th inning, the score was 4-2 Rangers, and thus the stage was set for a comeback.
We started off by rallying for one run off of hits by Ortiz, Varitek, and Ellsbury. We were only down one run at this point. Things were starting to change course. With men on 1st and 2nd, Francona made the decision to put pitcher Clay Buchholz in as a pinch runner for V-Tek on 2nd. Pedroia then hit a long fly ball to left field. The ball bounced off the wall as left-fielder David Murphy missed his attempt to leap and catch it. This is where things got interesting. Buchholz, standing on 2nd, thought the ball had been caught. Ellsbury had seen the play and was sprinting from first, so Buchholz quickly rounded third and, sliding headfirst into home, was called out. The baserunning blunder by Buchholz had cost us an out, and things didn’t look so good.
With 2 outs (the other from a Woodward strikeout), Victor Martinez came up with men on 2nd and 3rd. It was a grim situation. Martinez fought through a grueling 7 pitch at bat before he found one he liked, and doubled to deep right field, scoring both runs! The score was 5-4 Red Sox!
In my opinion, this was one of those times when you really get to know your team. If the Red Sox had just figured they were going to win, and just stopped trying right there, two things may have happened. First, we may have actually won anyway. Maybe Texas wouldn’t have had enough energy left either, and we would have shut them down in the bottom of the 9th. But we also may have lost. Our defense might have come out and started playing without much enthusiasm. After maybe an error, a few missed plays, Texas may have been right back in this game.
However, we didn’t settle for either of those outcomes. We stayed in the game and rallied for 3 more runs. A 6-run inning!! I learned something valuable about the 2009 Boston Red Sox in that inning: We have what it takes to win.
All in all, it was a happy night in Red Sox Nation. To top it all off, earlier during the day we acquired shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who played for us in 2006. As many of you probably know, we have been in dire need of a shortstop these past few weeks. Although the acquisition is meant only to be a short-term solution for our shortstop woes, let’s hope Gonzalez is the missing piece of the puzzle for this team to succeed. Welcome back, Alex!
So far so good in this Rangers series. Keep up the good work, boys!
Thanks for reading. (sorry about the wierd font change, not sure why that happened!)
p.s. Tomorrow I’m traveling up to Maine. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog tomorrow, but I should be able to get in at least 2 or 3 entries during this next week.